To quote James Murphy, I think I’m losing my edge.
I’ll be 48 in a little less than 2 months, and I’ve noticed a interesting trend in my board gaming. The older I get, the less I have a desire to play the bigger, sprawling, 4X style games and instead prefer smaller, tighter, more social type games. And honestly I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m trading heavy strategy, tactics and conflict for deduction, hidden roles and co-op.
So before I get too far down this path, let me say that I’ve always enjoyed just about every type of tabletop game there is. Even the ones that I’ve never been that in to (CCGs and miniature wargaming, mainly for monetary reasons), I still have a respect for and can appreciate why others enjoy them. That being said, I’ve tried to do some reflection on why I seem to be drifting from one area of gaming to another. Is this what getting old means? Is there some other force at play? Is it a simple matter of available time to commit to larger games?
My theory: As I get older, I’m trying to pack more unique game experiences into a smaller time window. Hence why dedicating 4 plus hours to a single game isn’t looking as appealing to me as it once did.
But Richard you might say, there are A LOT of great “big” games out there that provide fantastic gaming experiences. And I would agree. During the last year, when gaming in person wasn’t really an option for most, I was able to form a Tabletop Simulator group and our game of choice was either Star Wars: Rebellion or Star Trek Ascendancy. Both very well built games and both providing memorable gaming experiences.
However, most sessions usually ran at least 5 hours and most times longer than that. And since we usually wouldn’t start until 7:30-8:00pm, that meant games would run through 1am. Sometimes more like 2:30am or later. The last hour or so of those games, I was literally falling asleep in my computer chair. Does that mean I didn’t have fun, of course not. And sure, I could always form a group that could play during daytime hours so that the game didn’t run late into the evening, but I play the hand I’m dealt.
At GenCon 2011, Fantasy Flight Games was doing a Con pre-sale for Twilight Imperium 3rd edition, a few weeks ahead of its street date. Being a sucker for anything space themed, I picked it up with every intention to take this wonderfully oversized box for a whirl.
10 years later, that game hasn’t come close to seeing my game table!
Every year, I would tell myself that I was going to plan an all day event, dedicated to getting TI to the table. To embark on a grand adventure that the wonderful box artwork promised me. And every year passed with this never taking place. The game still sits on my shelf, mocking me every time I pass by. “You’re never going to play me are you?”, it says. “You’re not smart enough to play me. That’s why you haven’t ever played me isn’t it?”
Which leads me to my next thought. Maybe deep down, I’m afraid that I won’t be viewed as “smart enough” by others at the table with these larger 4X games. That if I don’t “get it”, that somehow my gamer cred would be impacted, or that I’d have to turn over my gamer card. Hence why I’ve been slowly shifting over the last few years to smaller “easier” games. After all, these big strategy games do require a certain type of strategic mind to be good at them. And I have yet to win a game of Star Trek Ascendancy.
But here’s the epiphany, none of that matters.
If you have fun, that’s the everything. And it’s the reason I love tabletop gaming. I’ve never been a very competitive gamer, instead preferring a shared experience with like-minded people over uber competition. As long as we all had a good time around the table, then it was time very well spent, regardless of my wining or not. I am much more concerned if everyone had a good time versus me being proclaimed the victor.
So ultimately, where does all this leave me? I think not far from where I started. Which is okay…I think? I do know I’m not going to worry about the type of game I look to play and just focus on playing more (now that we’re starting to get there again) in person and having great gaming experiences.
And if that includes more or less 4X style games, so be it.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment. Until next time, LLAP!
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